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Getting sick after a dog bite: When should you worry?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2022 | Dog And Animal Bites |

If a dog bites you or a loved one, there is a strong likelihood that bacteria from the canine’s mouth will enter your body and, eventually, your bloodstream, which could put you at risk of developing an infection Though washing the wound thoroughly immediately after the incident can help prevent infection, stubborn bacteria may stick around and cause serious illness, such as rabies, tetanus or sepsis.

If you fall ill soon after receiving a dog bite despite your efforts to prevent infection, it is crucial that you know the signs of infection and when to seek medical care. MedicalNewsToday explains what symptoms should concern you in the hours and days following an animal bite incident.

Symptoms of a dog bite infection

If you fall ill shortly after a dog bites you, you may wonder if your sickness is just a coincidence or if it is a sign of something more sinister, such as an infection. Below are a few standard ways to tell when it is time to worry:

  • You experience pain that lasts longer than 24 hours.
  • You develop redness or swelling around the site of the wound.
  • The wound pusses or drains.
  • You have difficulty moving the affected limb.
  • The skin around the wound is warm or hot to the touch.
  • You experience vomiting or diarrhea.
  • You develop a headache and/or joint pain.

If you develop shaking, fever and/or night sweats, there is the very real risk that the infection has spread to other parts of the body. If the above-listed symptoms did not prompt you to seek medical attention, the latter three should.

Complications of a dog bite

Dog bites can become very serious relatively quickly. If you develop any of the above symptoms, it may be a sign of Capnocytophaga, sepsis, rabies or tetanus — all of which, if left untreated, can be fatal. Because of the severity of possible complications, it is crucial that you seek medical attention right away if and when you develop symptoms.

Dog bites are not always serious. However, when they are, they can become costly and life-changing. If you or a loved one’s dog bite adversely changed your life, you may seek legal remuneration via a dog bite injury lawsuit.